Feel-good event gets wrapped up in nasty politics

The subject line of the e-mail wasn’t pretty: “Financial Literacy Event with Financial Services Roundtable formerly confirmed at 4 p.m. on the 18th and suddenly switched to 8 a.m. on the 18th with a rep from Advisory Council we told you not to do.”

The tone of the e-mail sent Tuesday by Greg Davis, a policy aide to Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (D-Texas), wasn’t much better.

Davis was upset because he said the Financial Services Roundtable had moved up the timing of its press conference highlighting its community work by eight hours and changed its location, inconveniencing Davis’s boss. He also was irritated that Financial Services had invited members of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy to attend, even though he said Hinojosa had stipulated that they not be invited.

So Davis sent an e-mail reflecting his annoyance to Scott Talbott, a vice president of the Roundtable, and other House aides. It made its way to ITK.

“I’m sorry, it won’t likely work out,” Davis wrote in the e-mail, warning that as a result of the changes, his boss might not attend the June 18 press conference, intended to be a feel-good event recognizing several lawmakers’ related leadership.   

“I recognize that you felt the need to change the financial literacy event from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. without asking at least Hinojosa that it would be OK or fit his schedule. I think he will understand that for a likely legitimate reason you moved the event up not one hour or two hours but 8 hours?

“Also, you were told that the stipulation was that no one from the Council be included as part of the event. John Bryant is on the Council. I don’t care in what capacity he is participating, we told you what the deal breaker would be, and you ignored it. He is the Vice Chair of the Council.”

Later he added, “What happened to the room in the Capitol? Whose schedule are you accommodating? Then you mention John Bryant, the Vice Chair of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy.”

Davis’s e-mail notes that Bryant represents a “decent urban financial literacy program,” but Davis expresses irritation that any member of the advisory council would be invited to the event. His anger was not mitigated by a promise that Bryant would not mention the council.

“It’s sad that you’ve stooped to the level of saying, ‘Well he won’t MENTION the Council, even though he is Vice Chair of the Council.’ ”

A source close to the event dubbed the aide’s behavior as the “D--k move of the year.” Hinojosa co-founded the Financial and Economic Literacy Caucus.

Talbott said the e-mail was unexpected.

“I was sort of surprised to get the e-mail because this was an administrative issue,” he told ITK. “We had never agreed to a time or a place. We had suggested 4 p.m. and then we moved it. Hinojosa’s office had not agreed to 4. We never had a place either.

“It was never agreed to that President’s Literacy Council would never participate. This is a bipartisan effort from our standpoint. We hope that everyone can get on board for a worthy cause. He [Hinojosa] is a leader on financial literacy.”

Hinojosa’s office also released a statement that said there had been a “misunderstanding” about the logistics and particulars of the event’s planning.

“Financial literacy is an extremely important issue to the congressman and he has fought hard over the years to raise awareness around the need for more financial education,” the statement said. “The congressman applauds the Financial Services Roundtable’s efforts ... and if his schedule permits he would be happy to participate.”


Sean Hannity plays cupid for lonely conservatives


Are you a conservative and feeling lonely these days?

Maybe you need a new conservative boyfriend or girlfriend? Fox News talk show host Sean Hannity has the solution: Hannidate! Just when you thought the D.C. scene couldn’t get lamer, Hannity has come to the rescue with an online love-match program that seeks to pair conservative guys and gals. The link is www.hannity.com.

“I’m as Ann Coulter as they come!” writes an attractive blonde from San Diego whose online profile shows her posing with a pistol and an impish grin. She loves not only guns but also healthy foods.

A curly-haired brunette from Texas bills herself “Reagan Girl” and says she’s a “typical Southern girl” who loves to cook and take care of people close to her.

Don’t worry, ladies — there are plenty of eligible conservative men looking for love. Mike from San Diego wonders: “Where did all the good girls go?”

There are even liberals looking for passionate if not compassionate conservatives. One romantic says he’s “a liberal looking for a conservative girl to put me in my place.” This disillusioned liberal says he’s tired of dating “hippie girls who do not shave their legs.”

Dwight from NBC’s ‘The Office’ gets political

It’s not easy to imagine, but Rainn Wilson, the Emmy-nominated actor who plays Dwight, the nasty, vindictive ass-kisser on the hit series “The Office,” is coming out for a courageous cause.

On Sept. 27, Wilson is scheduled to be the master of ceremonies for a benefit for the Tahirih Justice Center’s 11th annual benefit to support women and girls fleeing gender-based violence.

Also on hand will be a longtime supporter of the center, Queen Noor of Jordan, who is the honorary chairwoman of the benefit committee. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) will receive the Pillar of Justice award, while Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP will be Law Firm of the Year.

Perhaps Dwight isn’t such a strange choice after all. On the May 7, 2008, episode of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” presumptive GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) joked that Dwight Schrute would be his vice presidential candidate choice.

Tickets go on sale in August. For information on how to be a corporate sponsor, call 703-562-5544. The event will be held at the Crystal City Marriott in Arlington, Va.

 

Gum tree turns up on New Jersey Avenue

Our initial reaction to this one was: What the hell?

Late last week ITK came across a gum tree on New Jersey Avenue steps from the Cannon House Office Building and a block from the Capitol dome. This is not to be confused with the sweet gum tree, a tree recognized for its leaves. Each has either five or seven with pointed lobes and jagged edges.

The large trunk of the tree on New Jersey Avenue has 27 wads — yes, we counted (no touching, though) — of chewing gum in an array of colors. They range in color from white (minty fresh) to red (cinnamon) to yellow (Juicy Fruit).

Students at Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo., can cheer. Campus lore has it that students stuck their chewing gum on a redbud tree on the east side of campus. They decorated this “gum tree” in colorful wads. An unknown party knocked down the tree in 2000, but students swiftly created another.